Women’s college basketball preseason top-25 rankings, previewed by our experts

Women’s college basketball is at its prime. We are seeing the days of female hoopers making bank in NIL and women’s basketball games filling up football stadiums in Iowa. There is so much to be excited about this upcoming season for fans.

Last year’s Final Four brought historic TV viewership and memorable viral moments. With transfer moves and big names returning, this season is gearing up to be just as good. The road ends in Cleveland this season, as the Women’s Final Four will take place there on April 5 & 7.

At the start of the new season, we’ve enlisted the experts from the SB Nation team communities to help preview the top-25 coming into the year. Here’s what you need to know about this season’s top teams.

No. 25 Mississippi State Bulldogs

Sam Purcell enters his second season as the head coach of this Mississippi State squad who is ranked in the AP top 25 for the first time since February 2021. The Bulldogs are one of five SEC teams ranked in the AP preseason poll and certainly have a chance at an NCAA tournament appearance with a strong showing in conference play. Mississippi State has veteran presence with returners Jessika Carter (grad student), JerKaila Jordan (senior) and Ramani Parker (senior). Plus, the team picked up three new transfers Darrione Rogers (DePaul), Lauren Park-Lane (Seton Hall) and Erynn Barnum (Arkansas). — Beth Maiman, SB Nation, @bethamaiman

The reigning Pac-12 tournament Champions look to bring back Charlisse Leger-Walker (G), Bella Muraketete (F), Asteria Tuhina (G), and Tara Wallack (G) — paired with a new addition from the transfer portal, Beyonce Bea (G/F) to start this season. WSU rocked their preseason exhibition game against Montana Western, dominating 92-51- and for the first time in program history, they’re coming into this season ranked in the top 25.

The season glimpsed uncertainty when it was announced that Johanna Teder is out for the season, but WSU squashed several doubts with their successful preseason game. But, how much can we really gather from games like that? Obviously the season isn’t set in stone, but we did learn a great deal about the team dynamic already shaping up. We saw the team go 53% from the field, impressive performances by the starters, and the ability to maintain momentum of the game. — Emma Weightman, CougCenter, @emmaweightwoman

Head coach Shauna Green has brought the women’s team back to relevance after two decades of struggles. A good season ended somewhat prematurely in South Bend against Mississippi State, but most of the team returns. The Big Ten also gets a little weaker, though Iowa, Ohio State, Indiana, and Maryland are still projected above Illinois. They can improve on their sixth-placed finish and nab the fifth spot at least.

Genesis Bryant,

Illinois v Maryland

Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

, and Kendall Bostic all enter their senior year. The Illini get some reinforcements from the class of 2023 (Cori Allen, Gretchen Dolan) and some size in the transfer portal (Shay Bollin, Camille Hobby). And most of the supporting cast returns in Adalia McKenzie, Jada Peebles, and Brynn Shoup-Hill. Teams like Maryland lost multiple players to the WNBA Draft.

While the gap between Iowa/Indiana to Illinois may be too big to bridge, the experience this team has, plus addressing their issues of size and rebounding in the portal, make them a sneaky team to break into the second tier of Big Ten contenders. Bryant and Cook are absolute bucket-getters, and Bostic was a double-double machine. This team may be ready to take the leap.

March Madness is a different beast; it would be unfair to expect them to go very far. But a win or two in the tournament would amount to a hugely successful season, and would improve a strong recruiting base for 2024 and ‘25. — Idrees Kudaimi, The Champaign Room, @TotallyREALSpo1

No. 22 Creighton Blue Jays

The Creighton Women’s basketball team is coming off a very nice 2022-23 season. They went 22-9 overall and 15-5 in Big East play. While they lost to Villanova in the conference tournament semifinals they did earn a No. 6-seed in the NCAA tournament where they lost to Mississippi State in the first round.

This is a veteran Bluejay squad that will be deep. Emma Ronsiek, Morgan Maly, and Lauren Jensen all averaged double digit games last season while also starting in every single game.

It must also be noted that these three along with Molly Mogensen claimed the 3×3 National Championship in Colorado Springs this past year. They had a 5-1 record and beat Duke in the championship game.

The biggest returner for the Jays would be Lauren Jensen who averaged 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. She was a First Team All-Big East selection as a junior last season.

Next to Lauren have Morgan Maly who hails from Crete, NE. She averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Morgan is was also a First Team All-Big East member last season. She was named the 3×3 MVP and earned a spot on the Team USA’s 3×3 U21 Team.

Finally we have Emma Ronsiek at forward. She averaged 13.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per contest. Emma was an Honorable Mention All-Big East selection last year. — Patrick Gerhart, @PatrickGerhart

USC v Ohio State

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

No. 21 USC Trojans

The Trojans are coming off their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014. They were a No. 8 seed and fell to South Dakota State in overtime in the first round. They’ll enter this year seeking their first tournament win since 2006.

Rayah Marshall returns after leading the conference with 322 rebounds and ranking second in the nation with 98 blocks. She has registered at least one block in 51 straight games. She averaged 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks accompanied her 12.7 points a night last season.

Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year JuJu Watkins begins her college career. She is USC’s second Gatorade Player of the Year, joining Lisa Leslie.

Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb also brought in Kayla Padilla, who was a three-time All-Ivy First Team selection at Penn. She led the league in scoring with 17.7 points per game last season. — Ian Sacks, Mid-Major Madness, @ianrsacks

The Buffs finally broke through in 2023, as JR Payne’s team reached the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 20 years. They’re bringing back every major contributor — everyone except Tayanna Jones, the reigning KorisLiiga Player of the Month — and landed Michigan transfer Maddie Nolan. This will probably be the best CU basketball team, full stop, since Ceal Barry’s legendary teams of the 1990s.

The Buffs have their sights set on the Pac-12 title. For that to happen, Payne needs to maintain that focus and intensity and find a bit more consistency on offense. It’s a deep, veteran-heavy team that knows who they are and how to win. This team thrives in chaos and tries to create that through high-pressure defense, offensive rebounding and hitting just enough threes to scrape 70 points.

Jaylyn Sherrod and Kindyll Wetta will hound ball handlers and create transition baskets. Frida Formann and Nolan will bomb threes. Quay Miller makes everything go from the high post and can get a bucket whenever needed. Aaronette Vonleh is a great post scorer who is only getting better. Everyone else fills the gaps and contributes to the good vibes, none more so than senior leader Charlotte Whittaker and Shelomi Sanders of that famous Sanders family. — Sam Metivier, The Ralphie Report

Matt Wilson of Our Daily Bears has a complete preview of the Baylor women’s basketball for this upcoming season.

According to TN, this year Florida State will not be overlooked as the Noles are included in the top 25 rankings of nearly every preseason poll. This year FSU seems to have the personnel to make a postseason run.

Louisville v Iowa

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Jeff Walz has built a consistent powerhouse at Louisville, taking the Cardinals to at least the Sweet 16 in each of the last five NCAA tournaments. In 2023-24, he’ll be tasked with managing a roster unlike any other he’s coached before.

U of L was crushed by graduation and a slew of transfers — most notably star Hailey Van Lith to reigning national champion LSU — forcing Walz to add eight newcomers during the offseason.

Jayda Curry, a two-time Pac-12 all-conference selection at Cal, figures to immediately step into a starring role at U of L. Sydney Taylor, a transfer from UMass, earned MVP honors during the team’s gold medal run at the Globl Jam in Canada during July. Graduate Kiki Jefferson, who was the Sun Belt tournament MVP last season at James Madison, also figures to start. The trio will join forces with Cardinal returnees Olivia Cochran and Merissah Russell to create a more than formidable starting five.

Early in his career at Louisville, Walz made a reputation for himself as a coach who could get the most out of a limited roster. Don’t be surprised if he makes the most out of this year’s opportunity to go back to the hunter. — Mike Rutherford, Card Chronicle, @CardChronicle

Courtney Banghart was fortunate to get back Tar Heel stars Deja Kelly and Alyssa Utsby for one more season in hopes of getting to the Final Four. Banghart lost some key pieces following the Tar Heels’ 2022-23 campaign, but brought in eight newcomers. They’re going to need all hands on deck, because this year’s schedule is the most difficult schedule they’ve had in a while.

As of right now, the Heels have to take on No. 6 South Carolina, No. 2 UConn, No. 10 Notre Dame, and No. 8 Virginia Tech twice. While these rankings will move up and down by the time those games roll around, these four teams are also going to be extremely tough to deal with no matter the ranking. Thankfully for Carolina fans, Banghart has put together one of the best defensive teams in the country, especially when factoring in transfers Lexi Donarski and Maria Gakdeng. There’s a very real chance that there’s enough pieces on this team to win the ACC title, and hopefully we will finally see them make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. — Brandon Anderson, Tar Heel Blog, @THBBrandon


Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No. 15 Stanford Cardinal

What Stanford did last season would have qualified as a success for just about any other program in America. For the Cardinal, it was something close to a disaster. Coming off a 2021 national championship and a 2022 Final Four run, Stanford went 29-6 last year but were upset in the second round of the NCAA tournament to No. 8 seed Ole Miss. The offseason saw Stanford lose long-time senior star Hayley Jones to the WNBA, and former No. 1 recruit Lauren Betts transfer to UCLA.

Despite some talent drain, Stanford should still be excellent again this season. Cameron Brink is a senior star in the middle as a 6’5 big who can block shots, finish inside, and control the paint on both ends. Fifth-year senior Hannah Jump returns as one of the nation’s premier outside shooters after hitting 44 percent from three last season on more than six attempts per game. Kiki Iriafen also returns as a 6’3 forward who can score inside, and 5’7 guard Talana Lepolo is also back after starting 31 games last year as a freshman. Tara VanDerveer always her team ready to compete, and this season should be no different with a superstar like Brink leading the way. — Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation, @SBN_Ricky

Even with the departures of first-round WNBA draftees Diamond Miller and Abby Meyers, Maryland head coach Brenda Frese has several reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season.

The Terps will likely start four graduate students, including forwards Brinae Alexander, Faith Masonius and NC State transfer Jakia Brown-Turner, as well as guard Lavender Briggs.

Junior guard Shyanne Sellers also returns to the fold and is expected to shoulder much of the offensive responsibilities. The preseason All-Big Ten honoree will look to build upon her first team all-conference campaign in 2022, where she averaged just under 14 points per game.

The Terps have two 2023 top-100 recruits in guard Riley Nelson and forward Emily Fisher. Both are expected to see early playing time and could become efficient contributors off the bench.

Forwards Emma Chardon and Allie Kubek also return from injuries that sidelined them for the 2022 season.

Last season, the Terps peaked at No. 5 nationally, improving from their preseason ranking of No. 17. With a blend of proven skill and young potential, Maryland projects to be a versatile, exciting, and deep squad again this year. Perimeter shooting and defensive flexibility are expected to be staples of the team’s identity. — Ryan Alonardo, Testudo Times, @RyanAlonardo

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship - Texas vs Iowa State

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After a disappointing blowout loss to Louisville in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the earliest exit for Texas head coach Vic Schaefer since 2014-15 at Mississippi State, the Longhorns enter the 2023-24 campaign as the Big 12 preseason favorite and ranked No. 13 in the AP preseason poll.

The high expectations are thanks to the returns of preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Rori Harmon, the team’s point guard, sharpshooting guard Shaylee Gonzales, and physical senior forward DeYona Gaston, along with the addition of athletic wing Madison Booker, the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year and a top-15 recruit nationally.

As always, playing an active, swarming defense is the emphasis for Schaefer, whose team ranked 14th in forced turnovers last season, set a school record with 214 blocks, and went 22-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less.

The major looming question mark remains the outside shooting of Texas, which struggled to space the court in 2022-23. Although the Longhorns shot 33.9 percent from distance to rank No. 74 nationally, three players combined to make over 90 percent of the team’s three-pointers and one of those players, Sonya Morris, exhausted her eligibility. Since Harmon doesn’t have range out to the three-point line, her inability to provide a shooting threat puts extra pressure on her teammates to stretch the floor, an area where the addition of Booker should help, although the lack of shooting in the frontcourt is still a concern.

If the Longhorns can address that deficit, Schaefer’s team has a chance to make one of his trademark runs in the NCAA tournament. — Wescott Eberts, Burnt Orange Nation, @SBN_Wescott

The Ole Miss Rebels women’s basketball team has had a prolific rise under head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. Coach Yo is entering her sixth season at Ole Miss, having turned around a perennial bottom-dweller. In her first five years, the team’s records have been: 9-22, 7-23, 15-12 (WNIT Runner Up), 23-9 (NCAA First Round) , 25-9 (Sweet Sixteen). Notice a trend?

Obviously this isn’t the same exact team that stunningly upset Stanford in the second round to make it to the second weekend, but it did return most of its roster intact. Yo relied on the portal to fill two immediate gaps and provide a long-term depth piece as well as five high schoolers to prepare for this year’s huge senior class to depart.

This team’s downfall last year was poor shooting. It addressed that in the portal and high school ranks. If it’s able to put forth another smothering, in-your-face defense we could see the Rebels return to national prominence. It’s tough to see a run to the Final Four, but the Elite Eight isn’t out of the question. Conversely, the team could be better overall but not have games go its way in the postseason. Either way, it will be a fun team to watch again this year.

How this team all meshes, and where it finds certain key elements it will need, will determine whether it can return to the great heights of last season. — Juco All American, Red Cup Rebellion, @jucorcr

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Lady Vols are coming off of their second straight Sweet 16 appearance, but once again failed to reach the Elite Eight, something the program hasn’t done since 2016. That being said, Tennessee’s offensive triple threat of Jewel Spear, Rickea Jackson and Tamari Key has the potential to be truly special this year. Add Belmont transfer Destinee Wells to the mix, and Tennessee is shaping up to have one of the best offensive starting lineups in the SEC.

This team, however, is coached by Kellie Harper, so defense is going to be the first, second, and third priority. With Tamari Key returning after missing last season with blood clots, and Jillian Hollingshead at forward, the Lady Vols have some of the best defensive length in the country, something they’ll need to make up for a clear lack of speed.

While they won’t be expecting much offensive production from the bench, this Tennessee team is experienced and talented enough to put itself in a position to be one of the top teams in a strong conference. Who knows, maybe this is the year they end a decade-long regular season SEC title draught. — Christian DeFazio, Rocky Top Talk

Niele Ivey enters her fourth year as head coach of Notre Dame women’s basketball, and does so with the greatest expectations to date for her program. The returning headliners for the Irish are a second-team AP All-American, an honorable mention AP All-American and a 1,000-point scorer.

On top of that, Notre Dame returns 82.6% of its scoring, 82.8% of its rebounding and 82.8% of its minutes played, in addition to adding to the roster two five-star McDonald’s All-Americans, a nearly 2,000-point scorer from Fordham and a sixth-year graduate transfer forward.

Suffice to say the standard for Irish women’s hoops established by Muffet McGraw hasn’t seen much of a dip since her retirement. And after a heartbreaking Elite Eight loss two seasons ago and a postseason-altering injury to the star point guard last year, the Irish are poised to do what hasn’t been done since McGraw’s penultimate season at the helm: make yet another trip to the Final Four.

See more of Hayden’s complete preview here. — Hayden Adams, One Foot Down, @HaydenAdamsZ

Syndication: The Herald-Times

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Indiana is gonna be an interesting team to watch this year.

On one hand, they’re coming off a disappointing postseason that saw the bulk of the frontcourt suffer injury in the conference tournament before a second round exit. On the other, they’re still the reigning champions of the best-performing conference from last year’s tournament.

The Hoosiers lost a program legend in Grace Berger, who’s currently drawing favorable crowds with the Indiana Fever, but the player development has always been there. Nobody’s gonna inherit that role though, she was one of one. That makes the lineup interesting.

Indiana deployed a lineup brimming with offensive potential in its lone public exhibition, with three capable shooters, a senior lead guard and First Team All-American Mackenzie Holmes dominating the post. That’s a starting lineup that can score a lot of points quickly.

But Indiana’s program emphasis is on defense. Teri Moren’s Hoosiers have been known for their presence on that end of the court throughout her tenure in Bloomington and retain multiple capable pieces with many being candidates for a sophomore leap.

Holmes will again be one of the best players in the country. With shooters like Sara Scalia, Sydney Parrish and Yarden Garzon around her with a guard like Chloe Moore-McNeil running the show, the Hoosiers could be in for another special season.

Particularly if bench pieces like Lexus Bargesser, Henna Sandvik, Lilly Meister, Sharnecce Currie-Jelks and the two freshmen, Lenee Beaumont and Julianna LaMendola, jell quickly. — L.C. Norton, The Crimson Quarry, @bylcnorton

Our Gobbler Country site has a complete, in-depth preview on the women’s basketball team from John Schneider.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

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The Ohio State women’s basketball team enters a season with something it hasn’t had in a few years: National attention and expectations. While internally the expectation of success is there, a No. 7 ranking nationally means the rest of the country is now onboard.

Head coach Kevin McGuff’s side will go through point guard Jacy Sheldon and forward Cotie McMahon. Sheldon will run both the offense and the Buckeye’s blistering fullcourt defense. Alongside her is 22-23 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Celeste Taylor who transferred this summer, creating arguably the most dangerous defensive duo in the nation.

For McMahon, the individual expectations are even higher, for good reason. Entering only McMahon’s second season, she’s a First Team All-B1G preseason selection, on the watchlist for the Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the year award and an Honorable Mention Preseason AP All-American.

McMahon attacks the basket with force and finesse. After a short freshman season learning curve, the forward also learned to slow down and find an opponent instead of trying to score every point.

The Ohioan took control over the Big Ten but it wasn’t until the Sweet Sixteen that she shocked the country. Against the UConn Huskies on national television, McMahon scored 23 points and five rebounds, through her usual spinning moves to the basket but also from deep. That shooting is improving, a scary notion for opponents.

A question lingering is offense. Guard Taylor Mikesell led OSU in scoring and three-point shooting. The Buckeyes don’t have a scoring like-for-like but improved half court defense on top of a staggering fullcourt press gives guard/forward hybrid Taylor Thierry and forward Rebeka Mikulášiková will give fast break chances. Plus the open looks created by the attention given to McMahon and Sheldon. — Thomas Costello, Land-Grant Holy Land

No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks will look completely different this season. They graduated all five starters and seven players overall from last year’s team that was undefeated until the Final Four. They finished 36-1 and advanced to the Final Four for a third straight year but fell to Iowa in the national semifinal.

Kamilla Cardoso will look to step into the void left by 2022 National Player of the Year Aliyah Boston. Cardoso, last season’s SEC Sixth Woman of the Year, tallied 9.8 points per game. Her 8.5 rebounds a night placed third in the SEC.

Sakima Walker joins the squad after claiming National Junior College Player of the Year honors last season at Northwest Florida State.

The floor general will be split between Raven Johnson, who averaged 4.2 points and 3.9 assists per game (ninth in the SEC), and Te-Hina Paopao, a three-time All-PAC 12 selection at Oregon. — Ian Sacks, Mid-Major Madness, @ianrsacks

NCAA Women’s Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day

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No. 5 Utah Utes

The Utes put together one of the best seasons in program history. Since joining the Pac-12 a dozen years ago, they had never finished above .500 in the league prior to 2023 when they went 15-3 and tied for the regular-season title.

Utah was a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16, where it fell to eventual national champion LSU by three points.

All five starters are back from that squad. Reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year Alissa Pili registered 20.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. She shot 42.6% in 3-point land. Gianna Kneepkens 15.3 points, 5.2 boards and 2.1 assists a night.

Lynne Roberts’ team ranked fourth in the nation in scoring a season ago by putting up 82.8 points a game. The Utes outscored their opponents by nearly 17 points per game.

Utah was picked as the favorites in the Pac-12 entering this season. — Ian Sacks, Mid-Major Madness, @ianrsacks

No. 4 UCLA Bruins

UCLA has been a consistently good program over the last decade without ever breaking through to the Final Four. This could be the year that changes. The Bruins have an enticing mix of continuity and high-upside emerging talent for a team that starts the year in the top-five of the polls and should be even better by the end of the season.

Returning star Charisma Osborne is back for her fifth year looking to become a four-time All-Pac-12 selection. Osborne is a volume scorer who can keep the offense going even on an off-night, and her return allows UCLA to think big this season. Kiki Rice should also take a star turn in her sophomore season. The former No. 1 recruit in America is a big slashing wing who overwhelm opponents with her 1-on-1 scoring arsenal, but she needs to improve her outside jump shot.

Another former top recruit, Lauren Betts, comes over from Stanford with the chance to raise UCLA’s ceiling. A 6’7 center, Betts should finally get regular minutes this year to prove she’s still an elite two-way talent. Add in three other returning starters, and this UCLA team looks loaded on paper. The only thing missing is a deep run in March. — Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation, @SBN_Ricky

Syndication: The Des Moines Register

Joseph Cress/For the Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Iowa Hawkeyes, led by all-world PG Caitlin Clark, made a magical run to the national championship a year ago. The Hawkeyes lose two key posts from that group, both of whom started the last three years. Most notably, Iowa looks to replace two-time All-American Monika Czinano.

The Hawkeyes will be in every game because of Clark she’s a talent unlike most anything we’ve ever seen. She has a must-see factor to her and Iowa is selling out opposing arenas because of it. Perimeter players Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall will both be four-year starters alongside Clark. But Iowa’s season will hinge on the development and play of its young/inexperienced posts. Hannah Stuelke runs like a deer and has a great motor. Her free throw shooting and mid-range shot appear to be more fluid this year. Addison O’Grady and Sharon Goodman will handle low-post duties. Iowa develops efficient, productive posts.

There is no better coach in the country regarding coaching posts than assistant coach Jan Jensen. Head Coach Lisa Bluder instills confidence and trust in her players. The Hawkeyes won’t sneak up on anyone. They, along with Indiana and Ohio State, will be right there to challenge for the Big Ten title. It will be an uphill battle to win the B1G and make another run in the Big Dance. Caitlin Clark and company wouldn’t have it any other way. — Bartt Pierce, Black Heart Gold Pants

UConn is coming off its earliest NCAA tournament exit since 2005 after falling to Ohio State in the Sweet Sixteen, but expectations remain national championship or bust in Storrs. If all goes according to plan, the Huskies should have their best roster since 2016 — the year of their most recent title.

That’s a big hope considering the way the last two seasons have gone, though. UConn has been slammed by injuries in that span — none more impactful than Paige Bueckers’ torn ACL that kept her out for the entire 2022-23 campaign. The good news? She’s back and “is a better basketball player now than she was when she was national player of the year,” according to head coach Geno Auriemma.

UConn also returns AP Third Team All-American Aaliyah Edwards and Azzi Fudd — who looked like a national player of the year candidate before going down with a knee injury in December — who, along with Bueckers, should form one of the most dangerous trios in the nation. The Huskies also have plenty of depth with Caroline Ducharme and freshmen KK Arnold, Ashlynn Shade and Qadence Samuels in the backcourt along with Ice Brady (a former top-five recruit who missed her entire freshman season with a knee injury) and Ayanna Patterson down low.

There’s two major questions facing this UConn team: Can it stay healthy? And does it have enough in the frontcourt behind Aaliyah Edwards? If the answer to both of those is yes, the Huskies will be hard to stop. — Daniel Connolly, The UConnBlog, @DanielVConnolly

NCAA Womens Basketball: Colorado at Louisiana State

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The champs are back and possibly better than ever. Kim Mulkey has taken LSU to the promise land sooner than anyone could have possibly expected, and this might be the most talented team she’ll ever have in Baton Rouge.

Angel Reese, the SEC’s preseason player of the year, is back after grabbing an NCAA record 34 double-doubles last season. The Bayou Barbie and Flau’jae Johnson are two of the biggest stars in college athletics.

LSU brings back plenty from its championship roster including Kateri Poole, Sa’Myah Smith, and Last Tear-Poa.

LSU needed to replace Alexis Morris and LaDazhia Williams and filled those needs in a big way, bringing in Hailey Van Lith from Louisville and Aneesah Morrow from DePaul. Van Lith and Morrow were both All-Americans last season and the Reese-Morrow tandem ought to be the best post pairing in basketball. Reese averaged 23 and 15 last season while Morrow had 25 and 12.

If bringing in the top two transfers wasn’t enough, Mulkey and her staff also brought in the No. 1 recruiting class headlined by Mikaylah Williams, the No. 1 overall player in the 2023 cycle. She’s joined by Aalyah Del Rosario, the No. 7 player in the cycle, Angelica Velez, the No. 44 player, and Janae Kent, the No. 77 player. — Zachary Junda, And The Valley Shook, @zacharyjunda

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